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Author: Kaylee Arafinwiel
Title: Skin and Other Stories
Rating: PG for (non-violent) wounding and vague mention of past violence
Theme: Animal Friends
Elements: The clock chimed midnight. "Why can't I sleep?" he wondered, turning again and giving the pillow a sharp smack.
Author's Notes: The title is taken from B2MEM 2012.
Summary: Somewhere in the modern world, a wanderer long lost has a restless night.
Word Count: 946, not including header




The clock chimed midnight. "Why can't I sleep?" he wondered, turning again and giving the pillow a sharp smack. The plaintive meowing of a kitten brought him fully forth from his lost dreams, and he rose from his bed, pale skin bathed with moonlight.

Donning a silken robe, he walked through the front door of the cottage which had been home to him for several years now, and listened.

Mew!

There it was again. He moved on silent, bare feet over the cool grass, then knelt and peered under the hedge. A ginger kitten he knew very well peeked back out at him.

“So there you are, Russandol,” he whispered, and his grey eyes shone in amusement. “You thought you would escape me, but I know you far better.” He went after his recalcitrant pet, trying to catch the kitten he had named for a dear one lost to him.

Meow!

Russandol seemed to object, for he struggled out from under the hedge on three sound legs. The amputated one hindered him but little, and he waved his tail imperiously. When Russandol’s master attempted to pick the kitten up, he got scratched for his trouble, ancient scars opening with fresh blood.

Blood, he thought, and the coppery tang sent him to another time and place, before a Sun, before a Moon, where the stars piercing the salt air had once sung in joy, until their peace was ruined by the clang of swords…
It came to him, then, as Russandol launched himself imperiously into the wounded Elf’s arms, and began licking at his marred skin.

Alqualondë.

No wonder he could not sleep. It had been tonight.

This was not Alqualondë, or even Sirion, he thought sourly. But the salt air, the iron-rich blood on his hands, told his memory otherwise. The story of his greatest sin was written on his skin for all to see. When he was finally drawn from his trance, the position of Ithil and the wheeling stars above had shifted, telling him it was long past midnight now.

“Come, Russandol,” he who was once Maglor, son of Fëanor, sighed in resignation. “I will have no peace this night.” Perhaps he should just let the Sea claim him, as it had claimed his Silmaril, he thought, scooping up the kitten and carrying him. It would take time to walk to the shore, but he did not mind the dark...

Mew!

Russandol jumped down, and loped beside Maglor as the two finally went down to the beach. But as Maglor stepped into the surf, Russandol followed, wheeling about to plant himself in front of the Elf.

Meow!

Maglor stared in consternation down at the kitten. “Russandol…” He stared, and then looked at his bloodied hand. In the slowly lightening sky, Eärendil’s Star blazed, and he looked up at the long-lost Silmaril in studied silence. His wounded hand prickled – and not just from Russandol’s scratches.

He did not want to die. More to the point, Russandol did not want him to die, he thought. He gathered up the wet kitten, and took a few steps back from the lapping waves, steeling his nerve, thinking of all the Aftercomers he had called friend. Some were of his foster-sons’ joined line, long removed, he thought. The thought of Elrond still haunted him. Elrond would not want him to die.

Yet, did he not deserve death?

The words of his Oath still burned after well over five Ages, and years beyond count in the eyes of Mortals.
He remembered them clearly, seared into memory:

"Be he foe or friend, be he foul or clean,
brood of Morgoth or bright Vala,
Elda or Maia or Aftercomer,
Man yet unborn upon Middle-earth,
neither law, nor love, nor league of swords,
dread nor danger, not Doom itself,
shall defend him from Fëanor, and Fëanor's kin,
whoso hideth or hoardeth, or in hand taketh,
finding keepeth or afar casteth
a Silmaril. This swear we all:
death we will deal him ere Day's ending,
woe unto world's end! Our word hear thou,
Eru Allfather! To the everlasting
Darkness doom us if our deed faileth.
On the holy mountain hear in witness
and our vow remember, Manwë and Varda!"*


What, then, could he do?

There was only one thing that could be done, he thought, as his scratched hand, and the burn of old, continued to prickle at him.

Dropping Russandol on the sand, he knelt, facing West into the waves, where the last of Isil’s light had vanished, and raised his hands toward the fading light of Eärendil’s Star.

“I, Macalaurë Fëanárion, confess to you who sit upon the thrones of the West and to the One who is above all thrones, that I have sinned in deed and in word most grievously in what I have done and what I have failed to do. I hereby solemnly and of my free will renounce all claims to this or any other Silmaril for all the ages of Arda that may remain and beyond. I humbly ask for your forgiveness and accept whatever punishment is my due for my crimes.”**

The Star of Hope blazed incandescent for a moment, outshining even the rising Anar, and Maglor gasped. Russandol jumped, tumbling into the sand in a disgruntled fashion, waving his missing paw about.
When the light died…Maglor’s pain was gone.

Hope dawned for the last son of Fëanor, and he cried aloud for joy.

Russandol purred, and Maglor smiled upon him.

“Come, Nelyo,” he said softly, using his elder brother's nickname of old. “Let’s go home.” He swept Russandol into his arms. Home. Perhaps, someday, he would go home in truth. But for now, his estel had been restored.

It was enough.

Metta

*Maglor’s Oath is the Oath of Fëanor, as given in Morgoth’s Ring, volume 10 of The History of Middle-Earth.
**Maglor’s Renunciation is quoted from ch. 34 of “The Journey Home”, by Fiondil, my atto indonyo.

Metta = The End

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
silver_trails
Nov. 1st, 2015 12:40 am (UTC)
This is a beautiful story. I'm glad that Maglor found hope again.
kayleelupin
Nov. 1st, 2015 04:21 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm so glad :)

Kaylee
lindahoyland
Nov. 1st, 2015 04:17 am (UTC)
I liked this very much,especially the kitten.
kayleelupin
Nov. 1st, 2015 04:22 am (UTC)
I hoped you would! I didn't consciously decide it, but I'm fairly sure Russandol was based on your picture of Harry from B2MEM - except for having three paws, not four, of course. So, thank you again for the picture, and the review!

Kaylee
nessrealta
Nov. 1st, 2015 07:46 pm (UTC)
Powerful writing. I love Russandol - you'd think that inserting a kitten in the story would distract from the serious topic of the story - but he fits in perfectly.
kayleelupin
Nov. 1st, 2015 07:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you Nessrealta :) Russandol says thank you too! :D

Russandol: Mew! *waves three paws*
blslarner
Nov. 4th, 2015 07:47 am (UTC)
If anyone deserves to renounce his oath, it is Maglor. Now, to find his way home indeed!
kayleelupin
Nov. 5th, 2015 08:24 pm (UTC)
O thank you Larner! :) Yes, indeed...
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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