Like blood and fire

epilogue: heartsong


“Everything owes its existence solely and entirely to sound”

Peter Guy Manners

ICELANDIC
Heyr, himna smiður,
hvers skáldið biður.Komi mjúk til mín
miskunnin þín.
Því heit eg á þig,
þú hefur skaptan mig.
Eg er þrællinn þinn,
þú ert drottinn minn.

Guð, heit eg á þig,
að þú græðir mig.
Minnst þú, mildingur, mín,
mest þurfum þín.
Ryð þú, röðla gramur,
ríklyndur og framur,
hölds hverri sorg
úr hjartaborg.

Gæt þú, mildingur, mín,
mest þurfum þín,
helzt hverja stund
á hölda grund.
Send þú, meyjar mögur,
málsefnin fögur,
öll er hjálp af þér,
í hjarta mér.
ENGLISH
Hear, smith of the heavens,
what the poet asks.
May softly come unto me
thy mercy.
So I call on thee,
for thou hast created me.
I am thy slave,
thou art my Lord.

God, I call on thee
to heal me.
Remember me, mild one,
Most we need thee.
Drive out, O king of suns,
generous and great,
every human sorrow
from the castle of the heart.

Watch over me, mild one,
Most we need thee,
truly every moment
in the world of men.
send us, son of the virgin,
good causes,
all aid is from thee,
in my heart

It took months before Fingon was able to come to terms with the great changes that had happened since his death. He often spent hours reading and he was also being told a lot by Elrond and other who had survived the last couple of ages. Fingon was eager to participate in the defense of Imladris, he would ride out with the guards and he and Maedhros was quite a team. They struck awe into the very soul of everybody who saw them fighting.

Maedhros had found a new sort of peace now, a balance he had lacked earlier in life. He would spend as much time as possible with Halariel and her family and Elrond did hardly recognize him at times. He had never seen this relaxed and carefree side of his foster father before and he realized that the oath had lain like a huge heavy stone around the neck of everybody bound by it. Now Maedhros was free and he was enjoying that freedom immensely. With Fingon there by his side too he had become cheerful and he was grinning most of the time. But one thing still bothered him and one evening in spring he and Fingon left Imladris, they were going to search for Maglor and Elrond wished them luck but he had little hope of success. He knew that Maglor had to be alive but nobody had seen him for ages and that meant that he was hiding, and hiding well too.

Maedhros and Fingon first rode to the grey havens to hear if anyone there had heard anything that could give them an idea of where his lost brother could be. Nobody knew anything for sure, there were legends of people hearing song coming from the shores at night but nobody knew if this was true or not. It could be very old tales too, back from the early second age. There was only one thing to do, go looking. They sort of guessed that Maglor would be to the south of the havens, it was not very likely that he had gone to the north since that was a very changed area, it would of course hold a lot of memories too and Maedhros somehow guessed that Maglor would avoid those places that reminded him of the past. So they rode south, and followed the shore line. It was the best option and Maedhros had sworn that he would continue looking until he found his brother, he would never back off from this quest. Fingon supported him whole heartedly and it made him feel as though there was hope.

They sort of rode in a zig zag pattern along the coast, it wasn’t fast but it did ensure them that he wasn’t in any of the areas they visited. Here and there they encountered old tales and legends of a strange voice in the night or the sighting of a tall cloaked figure by the shores and Maedhros sort of felt that they all were telling the truth. He had been there for sure. Weeks turned into months, they rode south, then north again, turned back. Tales and legends changed from one village to the next, some swore that they had seen a ghost by the beach and others were sure that it was some creature of Sauron trying to lure people to a watery grave. It became frustrating and Maedhros did notice that people were unused to seeing elves these days. Many were suspicious or downright hostile and they had to be careful. They had chosen to dress in rather anonymous clothes which didn’t reveal any wealth and they rode plain horses that didn’t tempt anyone to attempts at horse theft. It wasn’t until winter was returning that they found something which rekindled their hope, it was a villager telling of a cove which was off limits to everybody. Nobody ever went to that place and the captains avoided the place too. They were told of an eerie voice which sang so hauntingly beautifully and so filled with sorrow it drove people in sane just listening to it once.

Maedhros instantly wanted to go there, it was a fresh track, this could be it. Fingon was a little more reluctant but he too had high hopes regarding this tale. They left their horses at a farm which lay nearby and was inhabited by some very friendly humans and they walked towards the cove in the shelter of the night. It was a lovely place with huge limestone cliffs and many caves and it was easy to see how this could be a refuge for someone trying to hide. It was almost impossible to find someone there if that person wasn’t willing to be found. But there were small subtle signs of the place being inhabited. To a human the signs would have been easily overlooked but to an elf they were rather apparent. Maedhros knew it, his brother had been there and perhaps he still was there.

They knew that Maglor never would come to them, they would have to wait until he revealed himself and so they sought cover in a small cave and sat there in silence. The sun rose and Maedhros and Fingon shared some lembas and a cag of wine, they still kept their silence. If Maglor was there he was probably as skittish as a wild beast and twice as nervous. They sat there waiting and the sun did finally go down once more. There was a gentle breeze coming in from the sea and the scent of the place reminded Maedhros of the happy days of youth when they had visited the coast and gone swimming, the whole family. Perhaps that was why Maglor had picked this place? As the stars became visible again and the sounds of the night got louder the two elves sat there in utter silence, both very tense and they were using their sharp senses for all that they were worth.

Maedhros had almost started to believe that they were wrong and that Maglor had moved on, that they were sitting there in vain, he was ready to curl up and go to sleep but he started when an incredibly eerie sound suddenly broke the silence. It was a loud keening noise that no human ever could have been able to make and it was apparently an attempt at song but it failed miserably. It just sounded awful and yet it had a sort of ragged beauty to it, no wonder this sound made humans lose their minds. Maedhros crept forth, he stared out of the opening of the small cave, saw a tall dark figure on the beach, reed like and fragile, it looked more like some sort of wraith than an elf. The hair seemed to be incredibly long and tangled and it looked like sea weed and the creature was so thin, it looked more like a skeleton with skin on it than an ellon. Maedhros choked a gasp of pity and despair. His brother, it was his brother. Or what was left of him anyhow, and it wasn’t much.

They slowly left the cave, the creature on the sand was unaware of them, he just stood there with his feet in the water, making those weird sounds that reverberated through the cove and created weird echoes that probably scared the living daylights out of anyone brave enough to enter it. Maedhros whimpered, Maglor was almost naked, he only wore a piece of incredibly dirty and tattered cloth around his hips and to his shock and horror he realized that it was the remains of an old banner, probably the one they had fought underneath during the war of wrath.

Maglor just stood there, the eyes staring out into nothing, empty. Fingon whispered to Maedhros. “ I think he is insane, or just completely lost in his memories.”

Maedhros felt tears stinging his eyes, his beautiful brother, who could make anyone laugh or cry or feel any emotion imaginable just by singing. Now he was reduced to a state that was so horrifying to behold he had a hard time believing that his eyes didn’t lie to him. He remembered his brother’s smile, his somewhat stern approach to the duties he had been given as a youth and his joy when he was allowed to just sing and play and be himself. He remembered Maglor flirting with the ladies of the court and the way his eyes would shine whenever their father praised his talent and skills.

The two had made their way down to the shore, they slowly walked towards the dark haired ellon who just stood there, like a tree firmly rooted in the ground. To Maedhros he seemed to be naught more than an animal, the body covered with sores and scabs and he did stink, of old rotten fish, decaying seaweed and infected wounds. It made Maedhros cringe and Fingon shook his head slowly in dread. “This is not fair, oh Eru it is so unfair.”

Maedhros sighed and hesitated, the wraithlike creature hadn’t noticed them yet, it was in itself a sign that Maglor was rather demented, before he had been one it was impossible to sneak up to. “He is punishing himself”

The words were a mere whisper but they were so filled with sorrow, so filled with pain. Maedhros had never thought that Maglor would have allowed this to happen to himself, he had been the voice of reason, of common sense and wisdom. Yes, he was a terrifying sight when caught by wrath but he had a kind heart and such compassion with others, Of all of them Maglor had been the best one, the one most innocent, the truly good son. Seeing him thus broke Maedhros heart and he was just happy their father wasn’t there to see this, it would have crushed him completely.

Maedhros did wet his lips, reached out and touched his brother’s bony shoulder very gently, he looked just as bad as he himself had when he was rescued from the clutches of Morgoth. Maglor let out a strange wailing sound, he jerked but didn’t turn his head, he just stared out into nothing and Maedhros sobbed. “ Maglor? Macalaüre? It is me, Nelyo, please, look at me?”

The emaciated ellon slowly turned his head, it was an almost absurd sight and it made Maedhros cringe, the body seemed almost stiff. And the eyes, Eru the eyes. They were empty and yet filled with eons of time, of anger, pain, sorrow, grief, love, longing. It was like a mirror where all your thoughts were returned to you, just ten times stronger than normal and Fingon let out a small yelp at the sight. Maglor’s pupils filled the entire eye, as if the sclera was gone completely and it was terrifying. Maedhros managed to make a squeaking sound. “ Brother?”

The creature that was Maglor just stared, the eyes still empty and there was no reaction to indicate that he was even aware of their presence. He just stood there, like a statue. Maedhros sobbed, he reached out and touched his brother once more, Maglor didn’t move, he just moved his lips and the weird sound could be heard once again. It made Fingon wince and cover his ears, it was awful. “What are we to do? We cannot let him stay here? He is close to death!”

Fingon’s voice was revealing how upset he was and Maedhros sighed and Fingon saw tears running down his cheeks. “ We have to bring him with us.”

Fingon made a grimace. “ You know how people will react to the sight of him? They’ll think he is some evil creature for sure.”

Maedhros nodded. “ Yes, I know. We will have to avoid being seen then.”

Fingon sighed and rolled his eyes. “ That will be hard, and how are we to treat him?”

Maedhros tried to smile. “ As if he is made from eggshells!”

Fingon felt frustrated, yes, he was full of pity and also rather angry at destiny itself for having done this to someone he had considered a friend. “ It will be hell, I can tell you that for sure! He will suffer no matter what we do.”

Maedhros gritted his teeth together. “ I survived? He can survive too”

Fingon took his lovers hand very gently. “ Nelyo, he isn’t you! He is not as strong as you were.”

Maedhros lowered his gaze, stared at the sand. “ I know of herbs that may keep him sedated. It will be alright. I am sure Elrond can help him.”

Fingon just shrugged. “ Perhaps, but the responsibility is yours Nelyo, he is so very weak and I fear that he won’t survive being moved. “

Maedhros nodded slowly. “ Maybe, but we have to try. I can’t just leave him here to die, if he can’t make it he will die among friends, among family.”

He reached out again and took hold of Maglor’s hand. He cringed when he felt the hard scorched skin of his palm where the Silmaril had burned him. It had been millennia, and the wound had never really healed. Maglor didn’t react at all, he just kept staring and whimpering that broken line of what had to have been some lament. Fingon felt like running away, it was too much, to terrible. He had never seen anything this bad, ever! Maedhros had looked just as bad but he had been mentally strong and he had been surprisingly sane after his ordeal. Maglor on the other hand seemed to be utterly mad.

Maedhros took a deep breath and bent down, lifted Maglor as if he was a child. “ Forgive me brother!”

Maglor made a screeching sound that was frightening and Fingon bit his lower lip.. “ If he continue doing that we’ll have to gag him!”

Maedhros just sent him a sorrow filled glance and started carrying his brother away from the beach as if he was a piece of wood. Maglor kept keening and he moved his head slowly from one side to the other in a weird almost mechanical manner but he didn’t struggle. He was probably too weak. Maedhros carried him up to where they had been camping and put him down gently. Maglor didn’t move at all, he just lay there on the sand like a doll someone had tossed away and the sight almost broke Fingon’s heart. Maedhros became almost manical, he got a fire going, gathered some more firewood, found their small box of medical supplies and it was rather apparent that what they had were nowhere near enough. He sighed and turned to Fingon. “ You must go to that village, buy some supplies. Clothes, blankets, medicine. “

Fingon nodded slowly, in a way happy he could get away from this for a while. “ Of course. Do you even think he can make it?”

Maedhros closed his eyes, the pain in his eyes too visible. “ I have to hope. There is nothing else I can do. He is my brother, I owe him to at least try.”

Fingon nodded and left the small cave, he almost ran back to the village where they had heard of the cove and he managed to buy the needed supplies without arising any suspicion at all. He just turned on all of his charm and claimed that one of their horses had bolted with all of their supplies still on it. He had quite a huge load to carry when he returned but it was all needed and he was strong. Maedhros had gotten quite a fire going, he had shot some small grouse like birds and plucked them and he was trying to make some sort of soup. Fingon dropped the bags on the ground and stared at Maglor, he hadn’t moved at all, but his head jerked from one side to the other in a strange mechanical rhythm. It made Fingon feel sick, it was so unnatural.

Maedhros went through the bags, he picked out a few items and mixed some dried herbs with warm water, let it drip through a piece of cloth to remove the wet herbal leaves and mixed it with the broth he had cleansed in a similar way. He stared at Fingon. “ You must hold him upright, I will try to feed him.”

Fingon nodded, he sat down and got Maglor into an upright position, he was just limp, didn’t resist nor help Fingon keeping his upper body steady. Maedhros had found a spoon in their luggage and he sighed and nodded his head. “ Maglor? I will try to feed you some broth, you need it”

He lifted the spoon and held it gently against Maglor’s dry and cracked lips, at first his brother didn’t respond at all but then finally he opened his mouth and Maedhros poured the thin liquid slowly into his mouth. Maglor did swallow, Maedhros sighed with relief. It was possible to feed him, he didn’t seem to be aware of the fact that he was getting food into him at all. Fingon sent Maedhros a warning glance. “ He cannot be fed too much, that might kill him.”

Maedhros just nodded. “ I know, but he has to regain some strength before we can travel, and he need the nutrition badly.”

Fingon sighed and let Maedhros continue. He managed to get perhaps a cup of broth into Maglor before he started to resist and it was probably just good, he shouldn’t eat too much, his stomach was probably not used to food at all. The herbs kicked inn rather fast and Maglor just sighed and fell asleep. Maedhros took a deep breath. “ We have to clean his wounds and get all the filth off of him, he looks grey all over”

Fingon nodded and untied the dirty excuse for a loincloth. It had almost grown into the skin in some places and the sight made Fingon cringe and swallow hard several times. Maglor did stink terribly, he couldn’t have taken a bath for ages and he probably never cleaned himself at all. Maedhros just shook his head in pain and disbelief and wet a cloth in some hot water. He started washing his brother’s body slowly, the injuries and emaciation got even more apparent when the thick layer of grime was gone. The sores had to be the result of flea bites and small cuts and sores he had to have gotten from getting into contact with sharp rocks. The hair was stiff with sweat, grime and salt and Maedhros didn’t hesitate. He took a good knife and cut it, then he shaved Maglor’s head and both ellyn shuddered at the sight of all the fleas and lice.

Many of the wounds were old and the infections had gotten deep into the tissue. Maedhros had a terrible expression on his face, of steel hard determination and Fingon wondered if this was how he had looked before he flung himself to his death. He cut into the wounds, removed all the infected tissue and Fingon assisted him with herbs that stopped the bleeding and stitched the wounds as Maedhros cleaned them. It took a long time, the sun was on the way down again before they were done and Maedhros covered Maglor’s body with some healing salve and wrapped him in some soft blankets. Now it was all up to destiny.

Maglor did wake up when darkness fell, he moaned and tossed himself around and Maedhros managed to make him drink some more broth with sleeping potion in it. Fingon really wondered how they were to get this wreck of an elf back to Imladris alive. The next day was the same, they fed Maglor when he woke up, washed him, put salve on the wounds, massaged his limbs and prayed. It became a routine, and Maedhros gradually increased the amount of broth he fed his brother. Fingon did notice a change, it was so miniscule it was hard to detect it but Maglor didn’t look quite so thin anymore and the sores healed although slowly for an elf. Maedhros didn’t give up, not a single second did he doubt that they would finish this task and save Maglor. He never left his brother’s side when he was awake, sat there and talked softly and gently of the things that had happened, of the life he now lived. Maglor didn’t seem to react at all but Fingon noticed that he had stopped making those weird awful sounds.

After two weeks they left the cove, the winter had hit them with its full force now and it wasn’t possible to stay there any longer. Maglor was still very weak and the cold could be fatal, they switched having him in the saddle in front of them and bought an extra horse from a farmer. Travelling was hard and slow now but they endured, they managed to keep Maglor warm in spite of it all, they fed him and kept him comfortable and Maedhros was filled with determination and he would not quit no matter what. He would bring Maglor home.

They sometimes stayed in inns where the humans were friendly, other nights they stayed in barns or out in the woods but they never stopped for more than a few hours. It was as if a fever had possessed Maedhros, he felt that they had to get back home as fast as possible. Maglor was getting a little stronger physically but he was still a mess otherwise. He appeared to be completely trapped within his own little world of torment and grief and nothing they did seemed to be able to pull him out of it. It was terrible to behold.

Maedhros was secretly afraid that Maglor’s fëa was lost, that his brother never would return to his old self. He never put words to his fear but Fingon knew, he could almost read his lover’s mind. He shared the same worries and tried to give Maedhros some hope and comfort when the doubt rode him and he started to think that it all would be in vain. When they finally approached Imladris again they had been gone a year and some months and Fingon sighed with relief when they were met by the guards. They recognized Maedhros and Fingon but all stared at the strange ellon who was placed on Maedhros horse in front of him. He looked more like some wraith than an elf and Maedhros sent them an apologetic smile before he made the horse trot on.

They reached the city before sundown and many had gathered there since the guards had sent a hawk to notify Elrond of their arrival. The healer and his staff were ready and Maedhros saw that Halariel and Glorfindel were there too, Findion were running around trying to catch some butterflies and Halariel had to grasp him, he didn’t care about the approaching riders at all. Maedhros stopped his horse and slipped down from the saddle, grasped Maglor and pulled him down very gently. Elrond just stared, it was Halariel all over again, just worse, way worse. She had been conscious although deranged. This was something very different and much much more serious. He was deeply shocked by the sight of his foster father, he had never encountered an elf who had done something like this to himself.

They carried Maglor to the infirmary and Maedhros hugged and kissed Halariel and Findion recognized him and hugged him too, with a lot of zeal and vigor. Halariel claimed that the boy was draining her completely, he was high and low and everywhere and keeping an eye on him was a job for at least three people. Maedhros felt a pang of guilt, elflings grew so fast, in little more than a year his grandson had gone from being barely able to take care of himself to be a whirlwind of mischief and pranks. Halariel had been right, the self-proclaimed uncle’s had taught the little one everything they knew and she had been almost ballistic with fury when she found that her son had tried to “improve the design” of her favorite dress by drawing on it with ink. It had been utterly ruined and she had made Elladan and Elrohir get her a new one. Findion didn’t understand why she was so upset though, he thought it looked good.

Maedhros hurried after Elrond and Fingon took care of their baggage and horses, the infirmary was silent and Elrond was already busy when Maedhros entered, he had undressed Maglor who was just as passive as before. He didn’t react to anything and Elrond cringed at the sight of all the scars and the visible bones. Maedhros just stood there, he didn’t interfere with Elrond’s work and the healer sighed and put his hand on Maglor’s forehead. “ I think you have done an amazing job with his injuries, he should recover physically. But his mental state is a whole different business, I have never encountered something like this.”

Maedhros was staring at Elrond and his eyes were filled with despair “ Please, explain?”

Elrond sat down, he looked tired. “ I think your brother has been caught by his own grief and sorrow and regret to a degree where he has tried to…erase …himself. I cannot explain it otherwise. He has trapped his own mind within his own personal hell and believes that he belongs there, that he ought to be punished.”

Maedhros bit his lower lip, he felt like weeping. “ I feared something like that, of all of us, Maglor was the most stubborn one.”

Elrond smiled. “ Yes, stubborn enough to save me and my brother. I remember that. I have no idea of how to bring him back. He has wanted this Maedhros, he isn’t like Halariel who was held in captivity by the power she harbored. She was a hostage, he is his own tormentor and I don’t know what it will take to make him see that he is wrong.”

Maedhros closed his eyes in despair. “ So what are we to do?”

Elrond looked down. “ Keep him fed, clothed. Make sure that he is comfortable and maybe, just maybe one day something will bring him back.”

Maedhros sighed and there was such sorrow in his eyes. “ It was not what I wanted to hear.”

Elrond got up and patted him on his shoulder. “ I wish I could have given you better news, but I do think that honesty is worth more than gold. At least you know the prognosis now.”

Maedhros took a deep breath. “ At least he is among friends, and I will not let him down.”

Elrond sent him a quick smile. “ I know.”

Maedhros went to his rooms where Fingon already waited with a hot bath and some food. Maedhros didn’t have to tell Fingon anything, his face spoke volumes and his lover embraced him tightly, just held him through the night, shared his strength and love with the tall redhead. Maglor was being kept in the infirmary for weeks, he was too weak to move around and Elrond made special food that would strengthen him. Slowly he started to look more normal, he gained some weight and his hair grew back, the skin looked healthy and he didn’t startle people anymore but he was unable to take care of himself. He was like a toddler, had to be fed and dressed and washed and Maedhros and Fingon split the tasks between them. The minstrel didn’t improve at all, he was still almost comatose in a way, he didn’t respond to anything.

They had gotten a small cabin for him on the outskirts of Imladris and he could be left alone quite safely for if they placed him on a bench in the sun he would just remain there until someone came to move him back inside. Maedhros wept rather often, he would beg and pray and almost shake his brother, desperate for some sort of reaction, but to no prevail. Maglor was like a living dead, he was breathing and eating and physically there but he was gone. The lights were on but nobody was home and Maedhros was often terribly sad and Fingon had to talk to him through the night to make the despair let go of him.

Then one evening there was a celebration of some sort, Erestor had managed to convince Maedhros that it would be a good idea to bring Maglor to the party, it could perhaps reach his bewildered mind. Maedhros was reluctant at first but Fingon supported Erestor and Elrond confirmed that it couldn’t make things any worse. They placed Maglor on a bench by the fireplace and gave him some wine and the eyes were just staring into nothing like before. Halariel had also tried to talk to Maglor, to get a reaction from him but she had no such luck. She saw how this affected Maedhros and she did pity him a lot and she would have loved to get to know her uncle. He was after all family and she found the whole thing tragic.

There was dancing and singing and lots of merrymaking, the mood was high and Halariel had gone to put Findion to bed when something happened. It became apparent that Findion hadn’t been watched as well as his mother believed for he had learned a few new pranks and had tried one of them out, and the victim was Lindir. He had a very beautiful harp and as he sat down to start playing it the strings snapped and cut his fingers pretty bad. Lindir swore and Elrond rushed forth to help him with the nasty cuts. The harp was not completely ruined but it needed new strings and one of the other musicians came forth with a new one. But Lindir couldn’t play for several days and so they just changed the plan and started playing a song which didn’t need a harp at all.

They sat there listening when Maedhros suddenly realized that Maglor was moving, on his own behalf. He just stared at his brother in slack jawed amazement as the previously catatonic ellon slowly moved towards the harp that was left on a chair. There was a sort of desperation within the eyes, like he was drowning and the harp a lifeline. Maglor grasped onto the instrument, his fingers were stiff and the skin hard and insensitive but he sat down with it and tried to play. It was a good harp, with a nice sound to it and everybody stared with huge eyes as a faint ghost of a smile flew across Maglor’s face. He started playing, a very simple old song often used as a lullaby and they were all surprised when someone started singing to accompany the harp. It was Halariel, she remembered that her mother had sung that lullaby and Maglor was suddenly transformed.

He was sitting there with his eyes closed and his fingers moved with an elegance born out of eons of time and practice. He wasn’t nowhere near as good as he had been but he did make the harp sing and Halariel’s voice was making the music complete in an almost eerie way. She had a very unusual voice for a female, a bit deep and husky and it was so filled with emotion it made everybody just sit there in shock. Glorfindel had barely ever heard her sing and he was in awe, and so was Maedhros. Halariel was slowly changing the tune and he realized what she was doing, she was using the music as bait, luring Maglor back to the world of the living through that one thing he couldn’t resist.

She had reached out and put her hand on his shoulder, let the power she still harbored flow freely. It recognized him, merged with his energy and Halariel was wielding it like a conductor’s staff. She sang of the light of a sunrise, of the sound of a child’s laughter. She sang of the stillness of a forest in winter, of the forgiveness of the allfather. He followed, tried to capture the tune and the emotions with the harp and it was wondrous to behold. It was a dance, a duet, a symphony of emotion and healing and Halariel was guiding Maglor through the maze of his own mind like an expert. She was taunting him, teasing his sense of musicality, triggering his need to create something perfect.

And he was starting to pay attention to his surroundings in a new way, the other musicians tried to join in, to help Halariel coax him further away from the catatonic state. She controlled them all, used the music and the sound like tool, as precise as a surgeon’s scalpel.

Maedhros was in awe, he had never seen anything like that before but neither had any of the others. Halariel had a very powerful voice and it was heard from afar, it created images from her life, and from the things she had read about as well. She stared at Maedhros, gestured for him to join her. He hesitated at first, then he too started to sing, to create the images of his past life, of how things had changed. Maglor was listening, it was very apparent and together Halariel and Maedhros brought him back. It wasn’t done in a flash, they stood there, singing for what had to be hours but time stood still, or so it seemed. It felt like a short minute.

Halariel was almost in a trance, her healing talent burst out into full bloom and she used the music as a sort of extension of herself. Her aura embraced them all, washed away sorrow and fear and the hall was silent. Everybody just sat there, staring and not daring to move an inch. Even the elflings held their mouths shut and stared wide eyed at the strange thing that happened. The remaining silmarilli power within Halariel did recognize Maglor, did find him familiar and since every piece of malice now was gone from it, the power only tried to help. It was speeding things up, doing in minutes what could have taken months without it. It was made from pure light and so it sought out every trace of darkness eager to destroy it.

It showed him the errors of his ways, showed him that he had been wrong, that he didn’t deserve what he had done to himself. He wasn’t to be punished in any way for his good deeds did mean so much more that those that may have been considered evil or wicked. He was resisting, adamant in his belief in his own wretchedness, in his self-punishment. He refused to give in, fought the light with all his might but he was weak now, fragile. The good memories of his youth was forced forth, the power of Halariel showed him that there still was light in the world, still hope. That he had earned to live, to thrive and start anew. Slowly and painstakingly the power removed every last piece of the self-loathing and fear, showed him that he was forgiven a long time ago, that there was no further punishment awaiting his soul. He was free, he was redeemed.

The distant empty gaze changed, he became aware of himself once more, became conscious. Maedhros had been singing of their experiences, of the past and also a possible future and Maglor blinked a few times and stared at his brother.

He started to shiver, saw Fingon and his hands let go of the harp, he whimpered and hid his face behind his hands. Maedhros knelt down next to him, touched his hand gently. “ Maglor? It is me, your eyes are not betraying you.”

Maglor shivered so bad they all saw it, Fingon caught the harp discretely before it hit the floor and Halariel sat down too. “I…I must be dead then, this must the halls..but…”

Maedhros shook his head. “ No Maglor, you are not dead, you are alive.!”

Maglor just stared, eyes wide open, he looked from one of them to the other. “ But…?”

Maedhros smiled gently. “ We have been reborn Maglor, and we went searching for you and found you on a shore, almost dead. You have been here for some months now, you are in Imladris, it is a safe haven for us elves.”

Maglor made a short keening sound. “ The others?”

Maedhros sighed. “ I am sorry Maglor, they have not been reborn, at least not on this side of the sundering sea, and I doubt that they ever will be.”

Maglor stared at the surroundings, then he saw Elrond and a peculiar expression crossed his face. “ I know you?”

Elrond walked over, touched his hand. “ Yes you do, I am Elrond.”

Maglor sniffed, his eyes were filling up with tears. “ Oh Eru, I…I have no words. I never thought I would see any of you again, your brother?”

Elrond swallowed hard, his face calm but the sorrow visible in his eyes. “ No longer with us I am afraid, he chose the fate of man and died a long time ago.”

Maglor trembled. “ How much time?”

Maedhros stroked his hair. “ You are better off not knowing brother, at least for now. Thousands of years have gone.”

Maglor jerked and his eyes were filled with disbelief. “ That long? I…I can’t remember it being that long? I remember….cold, and hunger and….nothing”

Elrond smiled with a sad glimpse within his eyes. “ You tried to erase your own soul Maglor, to become naught but a wraith. It is not what Eru has intended for you, believe me. He is nothing if not forgiving.”

Maglor looked a bit as if he was in doubt, he swallowed hard and then he noticed Halariel, he blinked and confusion overtook his features. “Who?”

Halariel sat down on her haunches close to him. “ I am Halariel, my mother served you and Maedhros during the last war, she …left with a piece of the silmarilli leftovers that you gave her. Maedhros is my father, and you are my uncle.”

Maglor looked shocked, his jaw dropped and then he reached out, almost as if in a dream and touched her hair. “ Like blood and fire, so like your mother.”

He suddenly turned toward Maedhros, rather abruptly. “ She is yours? Then by Eru I hope you have treated her well or else I will…”

Halariel just grinned. “ Worry not, he is a perfect father and an even better grandfather, I have a son and I will let you meet him tomorrow. The silmarilli piece you gave my mother have given me strange powers Maglor, they helped me heal you now.”

Maglor stared at her, his eyes sane and clear and Maedhros was silently crying in joy of having his brother back. Maglor just reached out, touched his cheeks lovingly. “Then it is true what they say, nothing is ever done without a cause. I only thought I should compensate that elleth, give her something of value, Eru was already making his plans I guess. “

Maedhros embraced Maglor gently and the minstrel sighed and returned the hug. Maedhros whispered softly. “ Yes, it has gone full circle now, you gave her that piece so that her daughter later could rescue you. “

Maglor just smiled, he closed his eyes and there was peace and hope on his face once more. “Yes, I have been rescued. And now I want to know it all, everything that has happened since you were returned. I see that Fingon too is back?”

Maedhros released the grip and leaned back, wiping tears off his face. “Yes, yes he is. And if I were to tell you everything right here and now I fear we will be stuck here for quite a while.”

Maglor let his fingers run through his brother’s long red hair, lovingly and in wonderment. “ We have eternity brother, I can wait”

Maedhros embraced him once more, Halariel joined in on the hug and so did Fingon and Elrond and before long the entire hall was cheering, even Lindir who still felt a bit sore about his injured fingers.

It didn’t take long before Maglor once again became well known as a minstrel and a singer, he got his voice back and his skills and Lindir were an eager apprentice and spent a lot of time with the ellon who had been an idol to him for a very long time. Maedhros wasn’t surprised at all when he one morning came strolling by Maglor’s hut and caught Lindir trying to sneak out, rather disheveled and flushed and also very satisfied judging from the sheepish expression on his face.

Halariel was happy, Maglor began teaching Findion the harp and the boy was very eager to learn and she breathed a sigh of relief. She wanted her son to become peaceful and safe, and even though Glorfindel probably would object to his choice of becoming a musician nothing could have made her more happy. They were all family and a tightly knit unit and for the years to come they all knew that they owed their happiness to something that earlier on only had brought death and misery. There seems that there is something good in everything, even a piece of discarded Silmaril. And even a dark deed can sometimes bring something good in the end.

The end.


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