“You are a great champion of Men, are you not?” Maedhros
does not even look up at him as he speaks, instead focusing on the papers
strewn across his vast oak desk. Caranthir would suspect a deliberate slight if
he did not know how utterly real – and really intolerable – his eldest brother’s
Not to mention that if Maedhros glances up too quickly, his
eyes look wrong in the light. And Caranthir has gone for his sword,
instinctively, more than once.
Maedhros takes care not to look at him much anymore.
But: “I am not,” Caranthir settles for saying. “I know
nothing of Men, save Haleth and her kin.”
If Curufin were here, he would make some snide remark about
how well Caranthir must know Haleth. If Celegorm were here, he would laugh
uproariously, jostling Caranthir in obvious collusion with his favored younger
brother. If Maglor were here, he would toss up his hands and exclaim that he is
done with the lot of them. If the Ambarussa were – well.
But Caranthir’s brothers are not here, instead scattered to
the corners of Beleriand on their own futile errands. And that is only if not dead, and doomed, and gone beyond reach…
“But you know them,” Maedhros says absently. “You have had
dealings with them recently.”
“Forty years ago!” Caranthir exclaims.
“As Arien goes, yes?” Maedhros waves a dismissive hand. “So,
recently. And since when have you followed such a count of years, brother?”
Since we have lost any
sense of how else time might be reckoned, Caranthir wants to say. Since the Trees that I barely remember and
you cannot recall much better withered and died, and we are left at the mercy of
Maiar and meteorology.
Since I realized I had
no other option.
Aloud, though, he only scoffs. “Since I first learned how,
that is when, and by that accounting, forty years is a long time.”
“If so you claim,” Maedhros says, forgetting his company enough for long enough to look up. He must mean to show his skepticism but all
Caranthir can see is the orc
until, realizing his mistake – or the white-knuckled grip
that Caranthir is keeping to the hilt at his side – Maedhros ducks his head
back to his papers with a grunt.
“But I will not believe, not for a heartbeat, that one of the
Noldor can fall so far from our roots that he would actually hold to time kept
by the Sun, of all things.”
It matters not whether
you believe it, and Caranthir knows this with all the surety of his bones. For we are all none of us the Noldor – the Eldar
– the creatures – we once thought we were.
Aloud, though, he only scoffs, and idly wonders if this
is the way that all their dealings must go from this day forward.
“Believe what you must to keep yourself functioning. And
tell me more about this Ulfang you wish me to grant land in Lothlann.”
He spoke, blazing with fire, and his lovely waters were seething.
And as a cauldron that is propped over a great fire boils up
dancing on its whole circle with dry sticks burning beneath it …
so Xanthos’ lovely streams were burned with the fire, and the water was boiling
strongly blown by resourceful Hephaistos.
The last of the pieces for my “Beyond the Trojan War” final depicting scenes from Homer’s Iliad.
I wanted to draw the battle between Xanthos and Hephaestus with Achilles trying to cross on dead bodies, since my prof described it the first lecture back in January! Plus bonus Aeneas being chucked to safety by Poseidon! (and a crane because I had a bird theme going in the other two and its one of Hephaestus’ sacred birds and it looked more impressive than a quail, to be honest)