Title: Of Love’s Recovery
Characters: Fingon/Maedhros, Glorfindel/Aegnor, Fingolfin, Turgon, Caranthir (mention)
For: Ardor in August 2011
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters, they are the property of JRR Tolkien and his estate. I have borrowed them for my own amusement and for yours I hope.
Summary: Maedhros is rescued from Morgoth’s captivity on Thangorodrim and must find recovery in body and spirit by Mithrim Lake…
Of Love’s Recovery
Fingon sat in the candlelit room, observant of the healers tending assiduously to his cousin Maedhros. His body represented a memory of what it had once been, with little recall of the strength of his elven might, emaciated, parched and wasted away from his ordeal. To see him so was painful but to have him here was a joy. He felt relief and affection all at once.
“He cannot have solid food yet. He will not stomach that. We will slowly get him used to liquids and see how it goes. He will be sick if we feed him too much. We will start with water and gradually add in nutrients little by little…”
After so much time in the elements, so much time exposed, Maedhros’ skin was rough and reddened, with cuts and abrasions from the rock wall of Thangorodrim. He lay naked on a soft woven sheet while nourishing oils were worked into his skin. After a bath, his hair was washed and combed. Normally fiery of temperament, Fëanor’s son seemed docile under the ministrations of three healers and the watchful eye of his cousin.
Maedhros had come through the surgery on his arm well as the wound where his right hand had been severed had been cauterized and cleaned up. The bone had been cut so that the skin could be sutured shut. He was given a remedy for the pain so he felt very little.
Fingon lifted Maedhros’ head and held the water to his mouth. Some liquid went down his throat, the rest was mopped up by a cloth.
“Good, well done.”
“He needs to rest.” Fingolfin said from the doorway. “He has been through much. You will stay with him?”
“Shall I send word to his brothers?”
“Not yet. Not until we can ask him what to do.”
Fingolfin retreated to give this news to others who waited in counsel. He did not argue and felt it wise to wait for Maedhros to recover before meeting his closest kin.
Fingon grabbed an embroidered night shirt, made of a soft cotton material and dropped it over his cousin’s head. He gently pulled his arms through the openings one at a time, being careful of the bandaged right limb. It was time for him to sleep, to rest if he could.
“Do not leave me, Fingon. I would like you to stay, to rest with me.”
Maedhros’ eyes were open and his gaze was clear.
“I will, as you wish.”
The prone Elf pulled back the covers and patted the sheets. Fingon kicked off his shoes and joined his cousin in the bed, pulling the blankets back over them.
“Sleep now, Nelya, you need your rest.”
“Uncle, I had no choice but to cut him free at the wrist. I could not break the bond.”
“I know, Aegnor. It was an ill choice to make.”
“He asked me to kill him. He wanted to die.” Aegnor winced to remember it.
“I imagine he did, after so long abandoned there but the fact that he yet lived means you made the right decision.”
The anguish was evident in Aegnor’s voice. He had been sent on the mission to rescue Maedhros and when he finally reached his cousin with the aid of Thorondor, had not been recognized. He was not sure what vision clouded the other Elf’s sight but was very sure it was not the Sharp Flame that appeared to the captive Eldar.
“It was horrible,” Aegnor said, shaking his head.
“You did well to rescue him and he is alive, that is what is most important.”
Aegnor was plagued with doubt. Would he want to live without the use of his fighting hand? After so much pain and suffering? It was a wonder that the Elf possessed the will to live at all and it was some testament to his strength of spirit.
“You can train him to fight, you know you can. He will learn new skills.” Fingolfin assured his nephew.
“Now that is true.”
Hope yet remained and Maedhros would fight again one day.
Fingon lay awake, while Maedhros slept. He could not sleep, wanting to be aware if his cousin needed anything or was troubled in the night. He worried at how thin Nelya was and found it truly amazing that he had not languished away to fade from those years of torment. He had always burned bright, with a strength of spirit stronger than most. If anyone could have endured on Thangorodrim, it was him.
It would take time for him to heal, time and patience. He smiled as the last was not one of Maedhros’ known attributes. Right now he was weak and malleable but that would not last long. It would be a challenge to assist his cousin as he healed but they had always been close.
Maedhros turned and waved his wounded arm in front of his face, thrashing away from phantom torments.
“Shh shh. It is alright.”
Maedhros sat up, waking from the nightmare which had held him. It took him some moments to see he was no longer shackled at a great height, no longer exposed to the elements and birds of prey and crows seeking to feed and peck at his eyes.
Low light lanterns illuminated the room and Fingon said,“Look around you, you are at Mithrim Lake. You are safe.”
“I was held for so long, it is hard to believe.”
“You should have something to drink. You need to regain your strength.”
There was water mixed with fruit juices and a small amount of miruvor, a restorative elixir. Fingon walked to the table to pour a small glass.
“Drink all of this…”
“Some day soon, I will eat a leg of mutton and some finely roasted vegetables, promise me that. This is nice but that will be better…”
Fingon laughed, “I promise but for now, this is your fate.”
“And a fine fate it is for I am with you.”
Fingolfin’s son smiled as Maedhros drank the glass down. Afterwards he asked,
“Where is the privy? This liquid is going right through me.”
“I will show you, it is right down the hall though there is a pot here in the chamber for your use as well.”
Fingon thought he might be too weak to make it to the privy chamber but did not say as much. He would let Maedhros attempt it. He knew from experience, if determined, there was no telling the other Elf what to do.
Maedhros got so far as the middle of the room before collapsing in a heap on the floor.
“Mark how low, a son of Fëanor has sunk. How pathetic a wretch I am…cannot even make the privy…”
Reaching him in seconds, Fingon swept him up with ease and carried him to the chamber pot conveniently placed in the corner of the room.
“You must go easy on yourself, Nelya, after all you have been through and with your injured hand. If there is one thing elves have in abundance, it is time, eh?”
He placed his cousin on his feet and waited for him to empty his bladder, handing him a cloth when he was done.
“This is embarrassing, Káno. To be so weak and have you see me like this.”
“All will be well soon. You will heal and be well and hale in no time. Who better to see you like this? Would you have another tend you? Should we send for your brothers?”
“No!” Came the quick reply. “I cannot have them see me thus. I would have you.”
“Then you shall have me. Now you should get back to bed and sleep, you must rest.”
“I feel like I have just awoken from a nightmare…sleep is troubling.”
“Well, I understand that feeling. Let me protect your dreams.”
Fingon lifted him to carry him back to the bed. He seemed too weak to walk the distance and he enjoyed holding him, light as he was. Covering him with the blankets, he lay beside him on the bed, watching as his cousin closed his eyes.
“Káno, you are a great comfort.”
“I am glad and will be here when you wake, do not fear.”
“I fear nothing when you are here, that much is true.”
Maedhros’ voice faded as he passed into Lórien’s realm of dream and beyond.
(To be continued…)