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Jagged Edges by Ellfine

Author: Ellfine
Title: Jagged Edges
Rating: PG-13
Theme: One picture is worth a thousand words.
Elements:The included picture.
Author's Notes: Many thanks to my betas: Fiondil, Dana, and Alassiel
Ellon/ellyn; male elf/elves
Elleth; female elf
Atar- father

Summary: One night during the War of Wrath, King Arafinwë of the Noldor takes his first ride aboard Vingilot.
Word Count: 1049





mountain night



Tearing through the cloudless night like Olwë’s fastest ship skimming the waves, only smoother, more elegantly does Vingilot ply the mighty ocean of the sky. Long have I admired this hallowed vessel, but now my breath escapes me in awe and sheer delight. The light from Eärendil's silmaril vies with Ithil’s brightness to cast eerie blue shadows on the hills below us as we pass.

Not hills, I remind myself, mountains. What lies below us – below us! - is an entire range of mountains! The sharp peaks rise through the fabric of the barren land beneath us like the jagged edges of a tree violently snapped in two. Eärendil says it is snow-covered rock we see reflecting the light so dully. I find it difficult to fathom the sight of that much snow and that much rock. The vast expanse of it overwhelms me. Never have I seen so much, so far, and all at once!

The young lord must think me a fool for my eager gawking at what he likely deems to be bland sights that lie so far down. I may be the king of the Noldor, but I am an ellon as well. New and amazing sights and experiences delight me. Even on so grave a mission as this, I find myself thrilling at the prospect of finally flying aboard Vingilot. I just wish that I could have done this under other circumstances, viewing other scenes, breathing less frigid air in my struggling lungs.

Futilly, I pull my cloak tighter about me, but the icy chill stabs through the layers of armour, leather, and fabric to slice my skin. Nay, it pierces my very soul! Is this Morgoth’s doing as well? Does his vile hand reach so high up as well as reaching across the expanse of Beleriand? I am too cold and too awestruck to turn and ask our beloved Mariner.

Is Eärendil still a mariner if he sails the heavens of Varda instead of the seas of Ulmo’s domain? I must remember to tease him about this later.
No, this is no journey of pleasure, though I continue to marvel at the stark beauty of the tableau unfolding before my eyes. Every peak below is a spike in Morgoth’s well nigh indestructable armor, protecting Angband. We approach from the North so that we may see, undetected by Morgoth’s spies, what we ultimately will face when the Army of Light reaches the Gates of Angband proper.

I stand at the prow with my kinsman High Prince Ingwion of the Vanyar at my side. He has lost many warriors over the years of torment and travail in which we have fought this War of Wrath aided by the Valar against what may well be the mightiest Vala of them all. The cost of this venture is engraved in the lines in Ingwion’s furrowed brow and in the scars he bears on his body. I have my own scars as well, but not all are visible on my body. Many are deeply graven in my fëa, having afflicted me and stricken my being long before this war even started.

I cast back across my long memory, before Anar and Ithil graced the skies, back to the Day before days. I remember when Melkor brought lore and bright words, enticing those who would harken to him. Melkor said he taught Fëanáro in the making of the silmarils, but I know that the Spirit of Fire made those all on his own. Ever did that half-brother of mine take what was given to him and turn it to his own devices whether it be material for the crafting or language for the studying or pursuasive words for manipulating or the lives of ellyn for the spending to further his own cause.

I avoided Fëanáro whenever possible. I stood up to him. I spoke against him. Reluctantly I followed after him, but later I took away from his misguided rule every elleth and ellon I could save. I lost most of my family to him, but I also gained a crown because of him.

I would rather have my family pressed close to my heart than bear the weight of this crown upon my head. I do not even know if I will ever behold my family again. My sons, my daughter, my brother, my sister, my nieces and nephews, my grandchildren…

Friends, family, soldiers under my command, the friendship of the other clans…What I have lost because of Fëanáro?

NO! I will place the blame where it truly lies. All of this was lost because of Morgoth. This is his doing. This was of his making. This is his fault. He is the one who will be made to pay.

And in spite of all of his destruction - no, because of it! -he has made ME. I, a king with a mighty army at my back and warrior Maiar all about, will hunt him down and make him pay for all that he has done to my race, all that he has done to my people, and all that he has done to me.

Ingwion grabs my arm and points with an outstretched, mail-clad hand. There in the distance I see among these Iron Mountains three great pinnacles. From so far away I cannot tell if they are volcanic or not but Eärendil assures us that they are. I gasp as I realize I behold Thangorodrim. No smoke issues forth from them as I am told sometimes occurs. However, I perceive an almost ghastly light. It is not safe to fly directly overhead, but we will pass as near as we might. It sickens me, but I cannot turn away. The Gates of Angband lie there - the abode of my atar’s murderer and the slayer of my dearest brother Nolofinwë who fell before those very gates.

In spite of the beauty of the landscape passing below me amidst the cold, forbidding light of Varda’s stars, I know my own road here will be long and arduous, paved with the blood, bone, and sinew of elves, men, and orcs alike. We have many months of fighting and toil ahead of us, but I have my anger to sustain me.

In my heart, I know we will prevail.


>

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
leianora
Oct. 16th, 2013 02:22 pm (UTC)
I love this starkly honest description of such a horrible time in the legendarium. It's a shocking read, because it so completely mixes beauty and rage and leaves me actually shivering in my spirit. Wow! Excellent job!
ellfine
Oct. 17th, 2013 01:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! I thought the picture was hauntingly beautiful and realized also that it looked a lot like Thangordrim. I'm writing a long, troubling Arafinwe fic right now (it's taken more than five years because it is that kind of difficult) and I could imagine him from that fic taking a reconnaissance flight with Earendil and reacting the way he did in this story.

Thank you so very much for reading and commenting!
dreamflower02
Oct. 16th, 2013 03:02 pm (UTC)
Such a stark and forbidding, and yet beautiful in a grim way, image calls for an equally stark and yet beautiful narrative. You did a great job with your story!

Welcome to the challenges!
ellfine
Oct. 17th, 2013 01:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you so very much! I enjoyed this challenge immensely and the picture was most inspiring. I hope I can manage more challenges.
ellynn_ithilwen
Oct. 17th, 2013 02:28 pm (UTC)
Beautifully written. I like the descriptions of the sky and the mountains below, and your portrait of Arafinwe.
kayleelupin
Oct. 17th, 2013 06:25 pm (UTC)
oh my goodness ellfine - hauntingly beautiful. *shudders* I do like it, very much, even though it scares me half to death :)

Kaylee Arafinwiel
engarian
Oct. 17th, 2013 07:41 pm (UTC)
Love the concept of the bird's eye view of Angband. That's such an unexpected viewpoint to address!

- Erulisse (one L)
blslarner
Oct. 23rd, 2013 08:35 am (UTC)
This shows such and unusual and completely plausible reason for Arafinwe to travel as he does with Earendil! The descriptions are stunning!
hhimring
Oct. 23rd, 2013 10:52 pm (UTC)
A very interesting, striking concept! I suppose if Earendil agreed to take anyone on board, it would be those two and the purpose makes sense.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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