A game of madmen

author: Azzy
beta: Lisbet
warning: not at all what I was aiming for, No Smut just power grabbing and fëanorian dynamics, Fingon/Maedhros implied
rating: M
fandom: The Silmarillion
pairring: Amras/Amrod (implied)
Summary: Maedhros wants to give the crown to Fingolfin, but his brothers feel this is a family affair.

A/N: For Memaizaka.
Okay so wrote this for the sultry in september, the OP asked for Amras/Amrod who was devious and not nice people, but very into each other. So yeah that didn’t happen, it just turned out to be a long as ficlet about Beleriand politics and brother dynamics. It was fun to be totally out of my element, not writing Silmarillion, but that I had been asked for no character death or major angst – oh noes! (I know it ends pretty abrupt but I ran out of time, and it would have turned into a long ass fic if I didn’t break it off. I might still write more to it if there is any interest.)

Written for Sultry in September 2016

 

Stand up
Speak out
Strike back

They don’t know
What they started

-Otep

It was a beautiful day, the sky was clear blue and the forests around them were alive, yet every elf in the column was jittery and high strung. The lords of Estolad were riding next to each other, one fuming with anger to the point where the men were downright afraid of him, and the other looked as if he were going to his own execution.

“He has lost his mind,” Amrod hissed angrily. “He has gone mad!”

Amras didn’t react. He had been listening to Amrod ever since they left their home and set out for Himring at their brother’s bidding. Maglor had sent them a letter, a letter pleading with them to return to Himring and aid him in talking some sense into the high king Maedhros.

“I understand that he won’t give it to –“

“Brother, silence,” Amras said softly. “You should not talk about such matters with this many ears around. We both know that gossip travels faster than the wind.”

Amrod growled but stopped talking.

At long last, Himring was finally visible in the horizon, flags slowly waving in the wind. “Do you…” Amras said, wetting his lips as he searched for the right words. “Do you think Maglor wrote for everyone to come?”

“I do,” Amrod said bitterly.

Amras adjusted in his saddle and smiled a little thin smile. “I look forward to seeing our brothers. It has been too long.”

“Except now you will witness them tear each others’ throats out,” Amrod answered darkly.

“That will not happen,” Amras said with a shake of his head. “You forget the love we have for one another.”

Amrod turned slightly in his saddle and looked at Amras as if he, too, had lost his mind, “I think you put too much faith in brotherly love.”

“Is that so?” Amras asked. “Would you betray me for the crown, then?”

“That is…” Amrod’s shoulders slumped slightly. “That is just different.”

“I choose to believe your words, because I love you, brother,” Amras stated with a slightly haughty expression.

Amrod shook his head, amused, and returned to his dark thoughts for the remainder of the trip.

-*-

Maglor was waiting in the courtyard to greet them, looking more haggard than the last time they’d seen him, but still he lit up in a blinding smile as he saw his brothers riding through the gate.

Amras dismounted from his horse, and like a little child, he ran to his brother and hugged him. “Brother!” he whispered, “We came as soon as we received your letter.”

“I wish it were under happier circumstances, little brother,” Maglor answered in a sad tone.

“When have we ever met under ‘happier circumstances’, brother?” Amrod said as he too hugged his big brother.

Maglor fell silent and just nodded.

“Did the others arrive?” Amras asked, trying his hardest not to sound excited.

“Yes,” Maglor said. “Come.” He gently ushered his brothers toward the door to the castle, and into the main hall.

“Caranthir!” Amras yelled. “Curufin!” He ran to his brothers and hugged them as well. He turned around. “Where is Celegorm?”

“Around,” Caranthir said, pouring mugs of ale for his his newly arrived brothers. “But I take it we can start without him.”

“Very well.” Maglor sat and gestured for his brothers to sit as well. “I called you all here because our brother, the high king, no longer wishes to be high king.” He looked out over his brothers who listened with bated breath, almost like when they were small and waited for him to tell them a fairytale. “It is no secret that I have been ruling in his stead while he was… indisposed.”

“Does he still struggle with phantom pains and night terrors?” Caranthir asked.

Maglor nodded. “Aye, he does, and after his last war effort, he no longer sees himself fit to rule. I have been unable to talk him out of it.”

“You ruled for so long, brother, you would be a perfect candidate,” Amras said.

“Thank you, little brother, but I fear I am a horrible ruler. You see, I do not have the resolve that Maedhros does… or did, we might say.” He squared his shoulders and added, “I have complete faith that he can be a great ruler if only he would believe in himself more.”

“’Tis simple, if Maedhros doesn’t want it, and you don’t wish to continue – it should fall upon Celegorm,” Caranthir stated.

“He wishes to calm the political storm and gain favor for the house of Fëanor once more,” Celegorm said, as he strode into the brightly lit main hall. “He wishes to give it to our uncle Fingolfin.”

“But the crown was father’s!” Amrod chimed in.

“That it was,” Maglor said softly. “But maybe he is right, maybe Fingolfin is the perfect candidate. After all, it would be a sign of goodwill from our side.”

“And why would we be interested in Fingolfin’s goodwill?” Curufin asked, pouring himself some ale, while watching Celegorm sit at the table.

“We are not,” Amras said, studying Maglor’s weary face. “But we cannot fight a war alone, we need allies. And if we were to give Fingolfin what he no doubt thinks ought to be his to begin with, we’d gain a powerful ally.”

“Exactly, little brother,” Maglor smiled, placing a warm hand on Amras’ shoulder.

“No,” Caranthir said, “No! The crown should go to Celegorm.”

Maglor sighed. “This was why I called you here. I agree that the crown should go to Celegorm, should he want it – we all know father would have wanted the crown to stay between us and our sons, and their sons.” He held up his hand to silence his brothers as Caranthir opened his mouth to speak again. “But as Amras said, we are not father, and we need friends. I believe we should make this decision together.”

The brothers nodded in unison.

“I think we should take some days to think, and we shall meet again here in this hall, by dusk on the fifth day.” Maglor said.

“But what about Maedhros? Why is he not here?” Amras asked. “I feel he should be.”

“He has not left his rooms for months,” Celegorm said from the other end of the table. “He wishes to remain alone with his dark thoughts.”

“We cannot let him do this,” Amras said, outraged, looking over at Maglor.

Maglor shook his head. “I know. But I fear that even orcs at the gates would not bring the spark back.”

-*-

Amras stood in the room assigned to him looking out over the courtyard with the sun setting behind the far away mountains. He wished they had never left, they should have been here, they should have seen their brother break. But they hadn’t, all too happy with being assigned their own lordship and lands. He used to know exactly what Amrod was thinking, but lately it seemed like he was barred from his twin’s thoughts.

“Are you decent?” A soft voice called from outside the corridor.

“Am I ever?” Amras laughed.

Amrod opened the door and slipped inside. “I can’t sleep,” he sighed.

“The night is young,” Amras said softly, studying his twin as he crossed the room. “You could read something from the library. I am sure that would lull you to sleep. There are such exciting titles as flora and fauna of Ossiriand.”

Amrod finally laughed,wrapping his arms around his twin’s waist, leaning in to inhale Amras’ scent. “I miss you.”

“I miss you, too,” Amras whispered. “But it is too dangerous.”

Amrod didn’t answer, he just kissed Amras gently as he hushed him. His hands traveled up under Amras’ shirt, slowly lifting the fabric up. Amras let him.

“We might not get the chance again,” Amrod whispered. “Tonight they are all tired from travel, and have retired early, might not be so tomorrow.” He bit Amras’ earlobe playfully.

Amras sighed blissfully, knowing his twin was right. “Come to bed, then,” he mumbled, licking a wet trail across Amrod’s jaw to his soft lips. “But we have to be quick.”

“Yes,” Amrod grinned as he pushed Amras backwards towards the bed. “And silent.”

Amras bit his lip and nodded. His calves hit the edge of the bed and he let himself fall backwards into the soft mattress. “Maybe we should build a fire,” he asked softly, watching his twin shimmy out of his clothes.

“I will keep you warm, my love,” Amrod whispered with a mischievous grin.

Amras giggled and hushed Amrod. “Silent, remember?”

-*-

Amras lay breathing heavily on the bed, his entire body humming in unison with his twin’s. He turned to watch Amros in the dark, brushing damp hair from his cheek. “Is that why you have been unwilling to share your thoughts with me?” he asked softly. “That you covet the crown, title and throne?”

Amrod closed his eyes and smiled a little as his brother’s fingertips brushed over his skin. “Yes,” he simply whispered back. “Forgive me.”

“It’s a dangerous thought, my love,” Amras whispered. “You were wise to shut me out.”

Amrod’s eyes flew open and he stared wide eyed at his twin. “What do you mean?”

“I mean it’s madness. The throne can never be yours,” Amras said softly. “You’ll do better forgetting the whole thing, and –“

“We would rule better than Celegorm! You know this,” Amrod said as he sat up in bed, gesturing wildly. “Amras, brother, joy of my heart, please tell me you know this.”

Amras looked away as he too sat up, his back to Amrod. “No,” he whispered almost inaudibly, “I cannot say that I do.”

“Please.” Amrod pulled on Amras’ shoulder, forcing him to turn so they faced one another. “Celegorm is a soldier, he would do nothing but push for military alliances and –“

“I cannot see why that would be wrong. As I see it, it’s exactly what we need,” Amras argued.

“Curufin is too insecure and Caranthir is a family man. This leaves us. We are ready to do what must be done.”

“And just is it that needs to be done, brother?” Amras asked, his voice slightly shivering.

“Restore our family name, find the Silmarils –“ Amrod stared at Amras in disbelief. “Surely you…”

Amras shrugged his brother’s hand off him and stood, and in silence he started to build a fire in the fireplace.

“Amras?” Amrod asked from the bed. “Are you angry with me?”

“No,” Amras answered. “Only hurt that you withheld it from me.”

“I already asked you to forgive me,” Amrod said, his voice raising an octave.

Amras sighed. “Brother, if the throne was to be yours, you would have to somehow remove all those others whose claim comes before you. Are you ready to do that?” he asked with his back to his brother.

“Maybe,” Amrod said, a little hesitantly.

“You are terrible,” Amras whispered. “We are here to support our brother.” He poked the fire that was slowly building, letting rays of warmth spread in the spartan room.

“So what do you think happens if Fingolfin gets the crown?” Amrod said, anger seeping into his voice. “We’d be hunted down and –“

“You don’t know that,” Amras said, but none the less a shiver went through his body.

“True,” Amrod said, scooting over to the edge of the bed. “But think about it. Do you honestly think that Fingolfin would let a band of usurpers like us walk free? He would worry that we coveted the crown, and that we –“

“Amrod.” Amras turned to look up at his brother. “None would aid us in such a coup, none of the elves wishes to see us on the throne. The only reason there has not been a revolt is maybe because they are still loyal to Finwë and his trust in father.” He shook his head. “I cannot rightly say, brother, but I do not think that they would look kindly on us.”

“They accepted Maglor,” Amrod stated.

“No, they tolerated him,” Amras said. “Mainly because he is nothing but a puppet ruler.”

Amrod nodded. “There is wisdom in your words, yet I do not join your sentiment. Celegorm is not the right choice, and neither is Fingolfin.”

“Brother,” Amras sighed once more, “I respectfully disagree.”

“So if I were to state a claim to the throne, you would not support me?” Amrod asked, his voice thick with emotion, his eyes fixed on his brother sitting on the floor next to the fireplace.

Amras wrung his hands but after long excruciating moments he nodded. “I would support you, till death.” He looked up at his brother. “This I promise.”

Amrod came down from the bed and sat in front of Amras, cupping his fair face with his calloused hands. “Then support me.”

Amras swallowed an emotional lump and smiled. “I wish you would forget all of this, and just come home with me.”

“I love you,” Amrod whispered, kissing his brother again. “But things can never be as they were before. This is where we fight, even if they be our own kin.” He kissed Amras again. “If I asked you to take up arms against your brothers, would you do so?”

Amras whimpered, his eyes sad and worried. “Don’t say that.”

“Would you?” Amrod insisted.

“You know I would,” Amras all but whispered.

“Good.” Amrod smiled.

-*-

Amras woke by hounds barking, and the horn sounding from the courtyard. He yawned and stretched. A hunting party. His brothers loved them, and it had been so long since they had hunted for sport together. Amras never cared for hunting. It was something he and Maglor had in common, but unlike Maglor, Amras didn’t care for the finer arts either.

Amras was on his way to the kitchen when he met Maglor carrying a tray. “Good morning, brother,” Amras said with a little smile.

“I was just on my way to the king. Would you care to join me?” Maglor asked, returning the smile. “It has been years since he saw you last. It might do him some good.”

“I would be honored,” Amras said, falling in tempo with Maglor’s steps down the corridor. “Brother? Is he really so broken that there is no hope for him keeping the crown?”

Maglor’s jaw clenched and then he shook his head slightly. “The only way he remains king is if I continue to aid him.”

Amras sighed sadly. “It breaks my heart to hear that news.”

“I would not have asked you all here was it not dire,” Maglor said.

“Amrod thinks that Fingolfin will hunt us down, should he receive the crown,” Amras said as casually as he could. “Do you think there is some truth to that?”

“I cannot say,” Maglor answered in all honesty. “I hope not.”

Amras worried the braid haphazardly weaved above his right ear. “What is your opinion on all this?” he asked innocently, looking up at his darker, brooding sibling.

“I wish Maedhros would – Be what we need him to be, what he wants to be.” Maglor looked down at Amras. “But I fear that is no longer an option. He is – broken.”

Amras nodded.

“His body has healed, but his mind is still stuck on that damn cliff,” Maglor said softly. “There is no other way to explain his ailment.” He smiled a thin smile. “So are you ready?” He didn’t wait for an answer, but just handed Amras the tray, and pulled a key from a chain around his own neck to unlock the heavy wooden door.

“My king,” Maglor said bowing. “I bring your breakfast.” He paused. “And a guest.”

Maedhros placed a book down on his desk. “I don’t want to see anyone.”

“My King,” Amras said as he too bowed. “I will leave you to your food.”

“Amras,” Maglor whispered angrily.

Maedhros turned in his chair, green eyes focused on the pair at the door. “Brother?”

Amras looked up and smiled at his elder brother, “Yes, my king.”

Maedhros looked over at Maglor with a hard glare. “I take it this is your doing?”

“It is, my king,” Maglor said.

“Pray tell, baby brother, did you come alone?” Maedhros asked, anger lacing his words.

Amras stared at the deep scars that ran down Maedhros’ neck and the gnarled arm stump. “No, my king.” When Maedhros arched a brow questioningly, Amras looked down at the tray in his hands. “We are all here.”

“All?”

“Yes, my king.” Amras forced himself not to sidestep nervously.

“And you.” Maedhros looked up at Maglor. “I assume you summoned them because of my decision?”

“Yes, my king,” Maglor said with a firm voice.

“Bloody vultures,” Maedhros spat. “Well you can send them all home. My decision stands.”

“With all due respect, my king, the crown was father’s, and it should be a family matte,.” Maglor said calmly, his gaze steady and hard.

“Dismissed.” Maedhros turned around with his back to the pair in the door. “Send them home, Maglor.”

“Yes, my king,” Maglor said, bowing. Without turning to face Amras, Maglor whispered, “Just leave the tray there on the dresser.”

Amras carefully placed the tray on the dresser, and backed wordlessly out the door with Maglor. “What now?” he whispered.

Maglor shrugged. “Nothing, brother.” He smiled, but the smile never reached his eyes. “You are my guests, and I am not about to send my guests home just because he doesn’t approve.”

Amras grinned. “You truly is a diplomat.”

“You think I could get a seat with the new king?” Maglor said mirthlessly, but winked to take the sting out of his words.

Amras stopped dead in the dark corridor. “Maglor? What if we wrote a letter to Fingon?”

Maglor stopped as well, crossing his arms over his chest. “I am listening.”

“Fingon was always Maedhros’ best friend, was he not?” Amras wet his lips nervously. There was something in Maglor’s gaze that made him skittish. “Also, he was the one to embark on – “

“Yes, they are close.”

“I think Fingon would be easier to negotiate with. How much sway does he have with his father?” Amras asked.

“Quite a lot, I would reckon.”

“So if the main issue with Maedhros giving the crown to Fingolfin would be worry for our own safety afterward, could we perhaps try and convince Fingon to make some treaty?”

Maglor seemed to think it over. “It could be done, but I am not sure that even Fingon would be able to make his father sign such a treaty.”

Amras sighed. “So we can do nothing.”

“Not true.” Maglor said.

“So what do you suggest? Parlay?” Amras threw his hands up in the air.

Maglor actually chuckled. “We will just have to find out, won’t we?”

-*-

The eve of the meeting finally came, and the six brothers sat around in deafening silence. There was nothing but the dull clank of armor and weapons against the floor. “Brothers,” Maglor said, his voice sounding like roaring in the silent room. “You all had a week to think about this. I will however tell you that I have spoken to the King, and he stands by his decision.”

Celegorm spoke first. “I have spoken to our brothers, and none of us feel the crown should go to another banner.”

“Very well, what do you suggest?” Maglor said, shifting in his chair, looking almost bored.

For a long moment there was silence until Amrod spoke. “Is there no way he will be persuaded to see reason?”

“I fear not,” Maglor stated.

“To whom would the crown fall, if Maedhros were no longer alive?” Caranthir asked softly, earning himself some shocked and intrigued glares from the others around the table.

“Maglor,” Celegorm said, pointing at Maglor.

“Brothers,” Maglor said calmly, “before you go any further down this road, let me inform you that it’s high treason to plot your king’s assassination.” He slowly filled his glass with wine. “What would happen if Maedhros had an accident, and the crown went to me, would be Fingolfin questioning the legitimacy of it. We would have every other royal house joining that debate. Worst outcome is a damned war over this crown, and I think we have enough trouble with the war we’re already in. Do we really need infighting?”

“True,” Celegorm nodded. “But then what?”

“Amras,” Maglor said, “present your idea to the others.”

Amras looked startled, and squirmed slightly in his chair when all his brothers turned to stare at him.

“Amras? What would he know? He is nothing but a child,” Curufin said, his voice as hard as his glare.

“He is a more cunning diplomat than any of you,” Maglor said with badly hidden anger in his voice. “Amras, please tell them.” He gestured toward the scrawny redhead.

“I suggested that we send a letter to Fingon, asking him to be our voice in his father’s court, to work out a treaty that bars anyone from… eh, turning on us.” Amras smiled a quick terrified smile at his brothers. “Amrod was worried that Uncle Fingolfin would seek our house destroyed once he had the power to.”

“The babe is right,” Caranthir said, as he looked around at his brothers. “Maybe it’s time we give up this comfortable life and return to what we came here for.”

“The Silmarils?” Maglor asked flatly.

“Yes,” Caranthir said. “The oath we took – surely that must be more important than playing ‘the game’ with stuck up uncles and cousins.”

Curufin stood. “So you suggest we go and throw our lives away because of a promise made to father?” He took a deep breath. “Father was mad. You know this!”

“Silence!” Celegorm roared. The hall fell silent. “Father was mad, but we took an oath that damned our souls. That is hardly a promise. I understand your hesitation, Curufin, you have a wife and a child…” He gestured out over the table. “None of the rest of us does, so if it comes to that, I fully support that Curufin does not join us.”

Curufin looked down at his hands, torn between loyalties. “I will ride with you.” He looked up at his brothers. “You are my family.”

“So is your son,” Amras said softly, next to Curufin.

Curufin nodded, “I love my son more than life itself, but I took the oath along with you, and I intend to uphold it.” He smiled at Amras. “Besides, it’s not in your power to grant me absolution, so I see only one road in front of me.”

“So we are just going to give the crown to Fingolfin?” Amrod asked.

“I don’t see another solution,” Maglor admitted. “Not unless we want war, and want to die for a cause that is not really ours.”

“Maedhros should be here,” Caranthir said. “We ought to go get him.”

Maglor shrugged, pulled the key from around his neck and tossed it on the table. “You want him here? You can go get him.”

Caranthir reached for the key. “Who is with me?” He looked around at his brothers. “I am sure that each of us have men enough that if Maedhros’ guards should become a problem, they won’t be for long.”

Celegorm stood up. “I am with you. Let us get Maedhros.”

-*-

The two brothers left and the hall was silent like the grave, the remaining brothers sitting completely still with bated breath. Even Maglor seemed to have lost some of his composure, as if he had known what would happen, but it had gotten way out of hand. He had maybe been a fool to think he could control the sons of Fëanor, brothers or not.

When Celegorm and Caranthir returned, they were carrying Maedhros between them. Celegorm held a dagger against Maedhros’ throat. All the color drained from Maglor’s cheeks as all hope of solving this peacefully was now gone.

“Sit!” Celegorm hissed, pushing Maedhros down into a chair at the table.

Maedhros glared daggers at Maglor, who just stared back. “Welcome to the table, brother. We felt you should be a part of the negotiations. After all, you are the guest of the hour, my king.”

“If you wanted to kill me, you would have already done so,” Maedhros said, strained, because of the dagger still being pressed to his throat.

“True,” Caranthir said. “We want you to listen.”

Maglor leaned in over the table and locked eyes with Maedhros. “What do you think will happen once you have given the crown to Fingolfin?”

“That the people will have a king whom they trust,” Maedhros said hoarsely.

“Mayhap.” Maglor smiled a fake smile. “But more specifically, what did you think would happen to us? Your family.”

“Oh.” Maedhros closed his eyes. “Nothing.”

“Your brothers worry that Fingolfin will initiate a witch hunt on our house,” Maglor said softly. “And I too find it a very reasonable concern. Without the crown, we would be the enemy. Too strong to ignore, and too dangerous to let live. Brother! If Fingolfin gets the crown, we would be hunted down one by one.”

“Be as it may, I stand by my decision,” Maedhros said in a mere whisper.

“But why Fingolfin?” Amras asked.

“Because he can’t give it to Fingon,” Celegorm said, standing behind Maedhros, knife steady.

Maglor sighed, and took a deep drink of his wine instead of coming to his brother’s defense.

“He saved me,” Maedhros choked. “I owe him my life. It is the right decision.”

Celegorm huffed and leaned down over Maedhros. “He was your lover, you filthy swine.”

Maglor looked away, and only Amras noted the tormented expression that flashed across Maglor’s fine features. So it was true. Maedhros, however, didn’t as much as blink at the accusation, and Amras knew that mask so well.

Celegorm pulled Maedhros’ head back by his hair with his free hand. “Was that why Father burned the ships?”

“Who knows?” Maedhros whispered. “He was mad.”

“And you are not?” Curufin asked. “Do you even realize the damage this knowledge would do if it came out?”

“He knows,” Maglor answered for Maedhros. “We are not here to pass judgement, but to figure out what to do.” He looked at Amras. “What say you, baby brother?”

Amras wet his lips and shifted in his chair, unable to take his eyes off Maedhros with the dagger pressed against his throat. “I say let Maedhros write a letter to Fingon, asking Fingon to draw up a letter that will let us set the terms for the exchange of titles.”

“Clever,” Curufin said with a smile. “I am for Amras’ idea.”

“So am I,” Maglor said.

“So we agree on giving the crown to Fingolfin?” Celegorm asked, his voice thick with disgust.

“Let us vote,” Amras said, and held up his hand. “All those for handing the crown over to Fingolfin.” Maglor, Maedhros, Curufin and Caranthir also held up their hands. Only Amrod and Celegorm did not. “Five against two, it is decided then.”

Celegorm snarled. “Pray tell, baby brother, what terms would you negotiate, then?”

“I don’t know,” Amras admitted. “Depends on what we plan to do.”

“We return to our search for the Silmarils,” Maedhros said in a strained tone, his head still being held backwards by Celegorm.

“That is suicide,” Curufin said softly, filling his cup with wine for the third time.

“For once you are right, brother,” Celegorm stated. “We are no army! Two warriors, myself included, a minstrel, two kids, a family man and a cripple.” He sighed. “We are doomed.”

“We were always doomed,” Maglor said drily. “And I would chose my next words carefully or we are down to five choir boys and a warrior.”

Maedhros used the momentum to reach up with his good hand and twist his body, tearing a surprised Celegorm off him, and slamming his face down into the heavy oak table. The third time Celegorm’s face made impact with the wood a loud crack was heard as the cartilage in his nose broke and blood flowed freely. “Call me a cripple again, you little shit,” Maedhros yelled, and slammed Celegorm’s face down into the table one last time for good measure.

“Enough!” Maglor yelled. “He got the message!”

Maedhros lifted Celegorm up by his hair, and Celegorm spit tooth and blood. “Yield.” He gurgled, “I yield.”

Apparently satisfied with the answer, Maedhros sat down again. “Alright.” He looked at his brothers’ shocked faces around the table. “I will write Fingon on one condition. I tell him what he needs to hear, he will make a treaty and we sign it. Once it’s signed we return to searching for the Silmarils.”

“So you’re buying us time to settle things first?” Curufin asked. “I need to get Celebrimbor somewhere safe.”

“Yes,” Maedhros said with a little smile.

“Fingon will never forgive you,” Maglor said softly, holding eye contact with his older brother. “Are you sure you want to do this? We need you to be with us in flesh and spirit.”

“I know,” Maedhros said, breaking eye contact and idly itching his stump. “I am here, this is what I am, and this is all I will ever be.”

“To the death,” Maglor whispered solemnly.

Maedhros nodded. “To the death.”

“To the death,” Amras said in a near whisper, and under the table his hand found his twin’s, squeezing it hard.

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